Spring Statement 2022 – NFU writes to the Chancellor

16 March 2022

NFU President Minette Batters at her farm in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England

With input costs rising and the Chancellor's Spring Statement set for 23 March, the NFU has written a letter to Rishi Sunak outlining the key measures we need to take in what is an extremely volatile environment for the sector.

In his Spring Statement, the Chancellor does not traditionally make significant new policy announcements. Instead he provides an update to the Commons on the government’s economic forecasts and the state of the public finances.

In her letter to Mr Sunak, NFU President Minette Batters provided a frank assessment of the economic outlook for British agriculture given the significant challenges faced by the sector.

Food production – impacts already

She updated him on the impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine is already having on British agriculture. She also highlighted the likely effect the invasion will have on global food production, food supply chains and the availability and affordability of food for consumers both in this country and throughout the world.

Necessary action

Minette said that government attention is rightly focused on attempting to resolve the crisis but that, going forward, she sincerely hoped that the government will take the necessary action to prioritise national and global food security. She outlined a number of steps she believes the government can take to enable British farm businesses to maintain their capacity to produce food in the months and years ahead.

These include:

  • preserving, protecting and prioritising gas supplies for food production and processing
  • encouraging and supporting banks to lend to farm businesses
  • conducting an urgent review of the current immigration system to ensure Britain’s food producers can access the labour they need
  • enacting policies which support farmers to provide nutrients to their crops.

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